Letters to the editor: Govt must increase COVID-19 vaccination sites

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WE note the approval by government for persons aged between 12 and 15 to be inoculated against the coronavirus disease using the Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines.

We appreciate the need to strengthen resilience of schooling communities from the COVID-19 pandemic, which of late has seen infections rising again.

We call for direct engagement with regards to the concerns and fears of parents, guardians and communities to do with possible adverse effects of the vaccination.

Vaccines

We continue to call for child-friendly information on vaccination to support positive behavioural change among children.

We call for increased vigilance on negative reactions to vaccination in children within the surveillance systems in communities.

We commend the progress of the national vaccination programme, which began in February 2021, and has managed to ensure that slightly over 40% of the eligible population is vaccinated against COVID-19.

We note further that several towns and cities have attained herd immunity.

We acknowledge the receipt of 20 million doses of vaccines and the expected of delivery of an additional 10 million doses donated by China.

We call for direct efforts to strengthen access to vaccination by persons aged 16 to 35 years.

We also continue to call for an increase in vaccination sites to cater for public transit points, farmers markets and other areas of intense socio-economic activities. –Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe


 

Zanu PF must stop persecuting opposition supporters
CRISIS in Zimbabwe Coalition notes with huge concern acts of political violence targeted at Zimbabwe’s major opposition party, Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC).

It is regrettable that ahead of the March 26 by-elections, we continue to witness acts of political violence committed by law enforcement agents and the ruling Zanu PF party whose unholy alliance is up to no good.

Such a scenario has created an uneven political playing ground ahead of the March 26 by-elections and the 2023 national elections.

CCC leader Nelson Chamisa chats with some party supporters injured after suspected Zanu PF youths attacked an opposition rally in Kwekwe yesterday

We deplore the partisan conduct of law enforcement agents and reiterate that law enforcement agents should be apolitical in conducting their duties.

In this regard, we implore law enforcement agents to investigate all acts of political violence and bring perpetrators to book.

As the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, we will continue engagements at the local, regional and international levels to ensure credible polls and respect for fundamental human rights in Zimbabwe. –Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition


Zec must adopt international best practices to boost stakeholder confidence

THE Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) has noted recent concerns and allegations levelled against the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) on several administrative anomalies on the voters’ roll. The allegations have a bearing on the credibility of Zimbabwe’s elections.

Zesn is not in a position to validate the allegations as it does not have the voters’ roll that was used in the scientific computer analysis.

The voter registration process is the backbone of any election. Transparency, accuracy, completeness, current or updated and inclusiveness are key aspects to ensure the integrity of a voter registration process and the credibility of a voters’ roll.

Thus the accuracy of the voter register is a key element in ensuring that all eligible citizens can enjoy their fundamental right to vote, while acting as a safeguard against attempts to manipulate the process.

Zesn notes with deep concern that the allegations on the voters’ roll anomalies, such as changes made to polling stations without consulting stakeholders, gazetting or informing voters whose polling stations were changed among other issues may worsen the lack of trust in Zec.

If these allegations are true, Zec might have infringed the Electoral Act, which guides the administration of electoral processes in Zimbabwe, in particular sections 22A(2), 33(4), 35(2) which stipulate that the electoral management body should consult all interested parties when determining the location of polling stations and the areas that the polling stations serve; removals from the voters’ roll and the publishing in the Gazette of all alterations to the voter’s roll that are made without the oral or written consent of a voters.

Lack of communication with citizens about such changes in the voters’ roll can disenfranchise potential voters, create perceptions of possible manipulation or fraud and more so can remove trust and confidence in ensuing electoral processes and election results.

Zec building

Zesn reiterates its call for Zec to consider independent audits of the voters roll by reputable audit companies as a way to build trust and confidence in the voters’ roll.

Zesn further urges Zec to avail the voters’ roll to other key electoral stakeholders who may indicate an interest to analyse and triangulate the information.

Zesn implores Zec to put in place ways/mechanisms to enhance citizens and multi-stakeholder confidence in all electoral processes guided by the electoral laws of Zimbabwe as well as regional and instrumental instruments on the conduct of democratic elections.

Zesn will continue with its oversight role to promote transparency in electoral processes including the voter registration process. –Zesn